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 Report

National Transportation Safety Board
Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)
Annual Report for Fiscal Year 2008
(October 1, 2007 through September 30, 2008)
   

Table of Contents

  1. BASIC INFORMATION REGARDING REPORT
  2. MAKING A FOIA REQUEST
  3. ACRONYMS, DEFINITIONS, AND EXEMPTIONS
  4. EXEMPTION 3 STATUTES
  5. FOIA REQUESTS
  6. ADMINISTRATIVE APPEALS OF INITIAL DETERMINATIONS OF FOIA REQUESTS
  7. FOIA REQUESTS RESPONSE TIME FOR PROCESSED AND PENDING REQUESTS
  8. REQUESTS FOR EXPEDITED PROCESSING AND REQUESTS FOR FEE WAIVER
  9. FOIA PERSONNEL AND COSTS
  10. FEES COLLECTED FOR PROCESSING REQUESTS
  11. FOIA REGULATIONS
  12. BACKLOGS, CONSULTATIONS, AND COMPARISONS

I. Basic Information Regarding Report

  1. Name, title, address, and telephone number of person(s) to be contacted with questions about this report:
Melba D. Moye - FOIA Officer
Joy White - FOIA Specialist
Tamara Pleasant Crawford - FOIA Specialist
National Transportation Safety Board
Attn: FOIA Requester Service Center (CIO-40)
490 L’Enfant Plaza, S.W.
Washington, D.C.  20594
(202) 314-6540
  1. Electronic address for this report on the World Wide Web:
http://www.ntsb.gov/about/foia/
  1. How to obtain a copy of this report in paper form:
Write to the following (include your mailing address in your request): National Transportation Safety Board
Attn: FOIA Requester Service Center, (CIO-40)
490 L’Enfant Plaza, S.W.
Washington, D.C.  20594-2000
(202) 314-6540

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II. Making a FOIA Request

For basic information on how to obtain FOIA information, visit our web site at ntsb.gov/about/foia.htm.

  1. Names, addresses, and telephone numbers of all individual agency components and offices that receive FOIA requests:
  2. National Transportation Safety Board
    Attn: FOIA Requester Service Center, (CIO-40)
    490 L’Enfant Plaza, S.W.
    Washington, D.C.  20594-2000
    (202) 314-6540

  3. The National Transportation Safety Board is an independent Federal agency charged by Congress with investigating transportation accidents, determining the probable cause and issuing safety recommendations aimed at preventing future accidents. 
    Requests are made for accident investigation records.  The records most commonly withheld are those protected from release by another statute, those containing proprietary information, and draft reports.  The most commonly redacted information is that involving matters of personal privacy. 

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III. Acronyms, Definitions, and Exemptions

  1. Agency-specific acronyms or other items or terms used in this Report.

    NTSB – National Transportation Safety Board
    CVR – Cockpit Voice Recorder
    ICAO – International Civil Aviation Organization   

  2. Definitions of terms used in this Report:
    1. Administrative Appeal - a request to a federal agency asking that it review at a higher administrative level a FOIA determination made by the agency at the initial request level.
    2. Average Number - the number obtained by dividing the sum of a group of numbers by the quantity of numbers in the group. For example, of 3, 7, and 14, the average number is 8.
    3. Backlog - the number of requests or administrative appeals that are pending at an agency at the end of the fiscal year that are beyond the statutory time period for a response.
    4. Component - for agencies that process requests on a decentralized basis, a "component" is an entity, also sometimes referred to as an Office, Division, Bureau, Center, or Directorate, within the agency that processes FOIA requests. The FOIA now requires that agencies include in their Annual FOIA Report data for both the agency overall and for each principal component of the agency.
    5. Consultation - the procedure whereby the agency responding to a FOIA request first forwards a record to another agency for its review because that other agency has an interest in the document. Once the agency in receipt of the consultation finishes its review of the record, it responds back to the agency that forwarded it. That agency, in turn, will then respond to the FOIA requester.
    6. Exemption 3 Statute - a federal statute that exempts information from disclosure and which the agency relies on to withhold information under subsection (b)(3) of the FOIA.
    7. FOIA Request - a FOIA request is generally a request to a federal agency for access to records concerning another person (i.e., a "third-party" request), or concerning an organization, or a particular topic of interest. FOIA requests also include requests made by requesters seeking records concerning themselves (i.e., "first-party" requests) when those requesters are not subject to the Privacy Act, such as non-U.S. citizens. Moreover, because all first-party requesters should be afforded the benefit of both the access provisions of the FOIA as well as those of the Privacy Act, FOIA requests also include any first-party requests where an agency determines that it must search beyond its Privacy Act "systems of records" or where a Privacy Act exemption applies, and the agency looks to FOIA to afford the greatest possible access. All requests which require the agency to utilize the FOIA in responding to the requester are included in this Report.

      Additionally, a FOIA request includes records referred to the agency for processing and direct response to the requester. It does not, however, include records for which the agency has received a consultation from another agency. (Consultations are reported separately in Section XII of this Report.)
    8. Full Grant - an agency decision to disclose all records in full in response to a FOIA request.
    9. Full Denial - an agency decision not to release any records in response to a FOIA request because the records are exempt in their entireties under one or more of the FOIA exemptions, or because of a procedural reason, such as when no records could be located.
    10. Median Number - the middle, not average, number. For example, of 3, 7, and 14, the median number is 7.
    11. Multi-Track Processing - a system in which simple requests requiring relatively minimal review are placed in one processing track and more voluminous and complex requests are placed in one or more other tracks. Requests granted expedited processing are placed in yet another track. Requests in each track are processed on a first in/first out basis.
      1. Expedited Processing - an agency will process a FOIA request on an expedited basis when a requester satisfies the requirements for expedited processing as set forth in the statute and in agency regulations.
      2. Simple Request - a FOIA request that an agency using multi-track processing places in its fastest (non-expedited) track based on the low volume and/or simplicity of the records requested.
      3. Complex Request - a FOIA request that an agency using multi-track processing places in a slower track based on the high volume and/or complexity of the records requested.
    12. Partial Grant/Partial Denial - in response to a FOIA request, an agency decision to disclose portions of the records and to withhold other portions that are exempt under the FOIA, or to otherwise deny a portion of the request for a procedural reason.
    13. Pending Request or Pending Administrative Appeal - a request or administrative appeal for which an agency has not taken final action in all respects.
    14. Perfected Request - a request for records which reasonably describes such records and is made in accordance with published rules stating the time, place, fees (if any) and procedures to be followed.
    15. Processed Request or Processed Administrative Appeal - a request or administrative appeal for which an agency has taken final action in all respects.
    16. Range in Number of Days - the lowest and highest number of days to process requests or administrative appeals.
    17. Time Limits - the time period in the statute for an agency to respond to a FOIA request (ordinarily twenty working days from receipt of a perfected FOIA request).
  3. Concise descriptions of the nine FOIA exemptions:
    1. Exemption 1: classified national defense and foreign relations information
    2. Exemption 2: internal agency rules and practices
    3. Exemption 3: information that is prohibited from disclosure by another federal law
    4. Exemption 4: trade secrets and other confidential business information
    5. Exemption 5: inter-agency or intra-agency communications that are protected by legal privileges
    6. Exemption 6: information involving matters of personal privacy
    7. Exemption 7: records or information compiled for law enforcement purposes, to the extent that the production of those records (A) could reasonably be expected to interfere with enforcement proceedings, (B) would deprive a person of a right to a fair trial or an impartial adjudication, (C) could reasonably be expected to constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy, (D) could reasonably be expected to disclose the identity of a confidential source, (E) would disclose techniques and procedures for law enforcement investigations or prosecutions, or would disclose guidelines for law enforcement investigations or prosecutions, or (F) could reasonably be expected to endanger the life or physical safety of any individual
    8. Exemption 8: information relating to the supervision of financial institutions
    9. Exemption 9: geological information on wells

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IV. Exemption 3 Statutes

Statutes

Statute

Type of Information
Withheld

Case Citation

Number of times
Relied upon

 Total Number of
Times Relied upon
by Agency

49 U.S.C. § 1114(c) and (d).

Any portion of a cockpit voice recording (CVR), or the portions of a transcript of a CVR that the Board did not find relevant to an investigation.

NA

1

1

49 U.S.C. § 1136(d).   NA 1 1
49 U.S.C. § 1114(e).  Drug tests and medical information. NA    
49 U.S.C. § 1114(f).  Any information relating to Board participation in foreign aircraft accidents, where the country conducting the investigation has not issued its report or 2 years have not elapsed from the date of the accident. NA 1 1

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V. FOIA Requests

A.  Received, Processed and Pending FOIA Requests

 

Number of
Requests Pending
As of Start of
Fiscal Year

 

Number of
Requests Received
In Fiscal Year

 

Number of
Requests
Processed in
Fiscal Year

 

Number of
Requests
Pending as of
End of Fiscal
Year

 

312(1)

 

224

 

500

 

36

(1) Three requests closed retroactively following the processing of the FOIA Annual Report.

B.(1) Disposition of FOIA Requests - All Processed Requests

Number
of
Full
Grants

Number
of Partial
Grants/
Partial
Denials

Number of
Full Denials
Based on
Exemptions

 

 Number of Full Denials Based on Reasons Other than Exemptions

TOTAL

No records

All Records
Referred to Another Component or Agency

Request withdrawn

Fee-related reason

Records not reasonably described

Improper FOIA request for other reason

Not agency record

Duplicate request

Other

*Explain
in chart
below

81

122

53

97

5

24

1

1

1

3

5

107

500

 

B.(2) Disposition of FOIA Requests – “Other” Reasons for “Full Denials Based on
Reasons Other than Exemptions” from Section V, B (1) Chart
Description of “Other” Reasons for Denials from Chart B (1)
& Number of Times Those Reasons Were Relied upon
TOTAL

No other information – 8
ICAO investigation - 3
Records already publicly available - 8
Requester no longer resides at specified address - 1
Requester no longer wants info/Admin. closing - 64
Cannot comply with request - 11
Other than released records, no other records found - 2
Case settled no longer need information – 10

 

 

107

 

 

 

Number of Times Exemptions Applied

Ex.
1

Ex.
2

Ex.
3

Ex.
4

Ex.
5

Ex.
6

Ex.
7(A)

Ex.
7(B)

Ex.
7(C)

Ex.
7(D)

Ex.
7(E)

Ex.
7(F)

Ex.
8

Ex.
9

1

55

3

43

162

101

49

0

0

0

0

0

0

0


VI. Administrative Appeals of Initial Determinations of FOIA Requests

A. Received, Processed and Pending Administrative Appeals

 

Number of
Appeals Pending
as of Start of
Fiscal Year

 

Number of
Appeals Received
in Fiscal Year

 

Number of
Appeals
Processed in
Fiscal Year

Number of
Appeals
Pending as of
End of Fiscal
Year

0

15

14

1

 

B. Disposition of Administrative Appeals -- All Processed Appeals

Number Affirmed
on Appeal

Number Partially
Affirmed & Partially
Reversed/Remanded
on Appeal

Number Completely
Reversed/Remanded
on Appeal

Number of
Appeals Closed
for Other Reasons

TOTAL

 

4

2

4

4

14

 

C.(1) Reasons for Denial on Appeal -- Number of Times Exemptions Applied

Ex. 1

Ex. 2

Ex. 3

Ex. 4

Ex. 5

Ex. 6

Ex. 7(A)

Ex. 7(B)

Ex. 7(C)

Ex. 7(D)

Ex.
7(E)

Ex.
7(F)

Ex. 8

Ex. 9

0

2

0

1

3

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

 

C.(2) Reasons for Denial on Appeal -- Reasons Other than Exemptions

No records

Records
Referred
At Initial
Request
Level

Request withdrawn

Fee-related reason

Records not reasonably described

Improper
Request
for Other
Reasons

Not
agency record

Duplicate request
or
Appeal

Request
In Litigation

Appeal
Based Solely
on Denial of
Request for
Expedited Processing

Other

*Explain
in chart
below

1

1

0

0

0

1

0

0

0

0

1

 

C.(3) Reasons for Denial on Appeal – “Other” Reasons from Section VI, C (2) Chart

Description of “Other” Reasons for Denial on
Appeal from Chart C (2) & Number of Times
Those Reasons Were Relied upon

TOTAL

Located records not found during initial search

1

 

C.(4) Response Time for Administrative Appeals

SIMPLE

COMPLEX

EXPEDITED PROCESSING

Median
Number
of Days

Average
Number
of Days

Lowest
Number
of Days

Highest
Number
of Days

Median
Number
of Days

Average
Number
of Days

Lowest
Number
of Days

Highest
Number
of Days

Median
Number
of Days

Average
Number
of Days

Lowest
Number
of Days

Highest
Number
of Days

1

4.4

0

17

6

21.67

0

59

NA

NA

NA

NA

 

C.(5) Ten Oldest Pending Administrative Appeals

 

10th Oldest
Appeal

9th

8th

7th

6th

5th

4th

3rd

2nd

Oldest Appeal

Date ofReceipt of
Ten OldestAppeals

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

09/12/2008

Number of
DaysPending

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

12

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VII. FOIA Requests Response Time for Processed and Pending Requests

A. Processed Requests -- Response Time for All Processed Perfected Requests

SIMPLE

COMPLEX

EXPEDITED PROCESSING

Median
Number
of Days

Average
Number
of Days

Lowest
Number
of Days

Highest
Number
of Days

Median
Number
of Days

Average
Number
of Days

Lowest
Number
of Days

Highest
Number
of Days

Median
Number
of Days

Average
Number
of Days

Lowest
Number
of Days

Highest
Number
of Days

1

13.1

0

123

7

28.57

0

167

NA

NA

NA

NA

 

B. Processed Requests -- Response Time for Perfected Requests in Which Information Was Granted

SIMPLE

COMPLEX

EXPEDITED PROCESSING

Median
Number
of Days

Average
Number
of Days

Lowest
Number
of Days

Highest
Number
of Days

Median
Number
of Days

Average
Number
of Days

Lowest
Number
of Days

Highest
Number
of Days

Median
Number
of Days

Average
Number
of Days

Lowest
Number
of Days

Highest
Number
of Days

1

17.4

0

123

14

45.8

0

138

NA

NA

NA

NA

 

C. Processed Requests -- Response Time in Day Increments (2)
Simple Requests

1-20
Days

21-40
Days

41-60
Days

61-80
Days

81-100
Days

101-120
Days

121-140
Days

141-160
Days

161-180
Days

181-200
Days

201-300
Days

301-400
Days

401+
Days

TOTAL

43

1

0

1

2

1

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

49

(2) 12 requests not calculated in new database—459 median days to process

Complex Requests (3)

1-20
Days

21-40
Days

41-60
Days

61-80
Days

81-100
Days

101-120
Days

121-140
Days

141-160
Days

161-180
Days

181-200
Days

201-300
Days

301-400
Days

401+
Days

TOTAL

99

9

4

5

8

5

8

0

2

0

0

0

0

140

(3) 299 requests not calculated in new database—470 median days to process

Requests Granted Expedited Processing

1-20
Days

21-40
Days

41-60
Days

61-80
Days

81-100
Days

101-120
Days

121-140
Days

141-160
Days

161-180
Days

181-200
Days

201-300
Days

301-400
Days

401+
Days

TOTAL

NA

NA

NA

NA

NA

NA

NA

NA

NA

NA

NA

NA

NA

NA

 

D. Pending Requests -- All Pending Perfected Requests

SIMPLE

COMPLEX

EXPEDITED PROCESSING

Number
Pending

Median
Number
of Days

Average
Number
of Days

Number
Pending

Median
Number
of Days

Average
Number
of Days

Number
Pending

Median
Number
of Days

Average
Number
of Days

0

0

0

36

52

61

NA

NA

NA

 

E. Pending Requests Ten Oldest Pending Perfected Requests

10th Oldest
Request and
Number of
Days Pending

9th

8th

7th

6th

5th

4th

3rd

2nd

Oldest Request
and Number of
Days Pending

05/30/2008
87

05/07/2008
104

05/06/2008
105

05/06/2008
105

05/05/2008
106

04/02/2008
129

03/31/2008
131

02/05/2008
170

01/02/2008
194

02/16/07
475

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VIII.  Requests for Expedited Processing and requests for Fee Waiver

 

A. Requests for Expedited Processing

Number
Granted

Number
Denied

Median
Number of
Days to
Adjudicate

Average
Number of
Days to
Adjudicate

Number
Adjudicated
Within Ten
Calendar Days

0

2

0

0

2

 

B. Requests for Fee Waiver

Number
Granted

Number
Denied

Median
Number of
Days to
Adjudicate

Average
Number of
Days to
Adjudicate

2

0

0

0

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IX. FOIA Personnel and Costs

Personnel & Costs

PERSONNEL

COSTS

Number of
Full-Time
FOIA Employees

Number of Equivalent
Full-Time
FOIA Employees

Total Number of
Full-Time
FOIA Staff

Processing
Costs

Litigation-
Related
Costs

Total
Costs

5

3.25

8.25

$1,107,320.83

$8,220.02

$1,115,540.85

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X. FEES COLLECTED FOR PROCESSING REQUESTS*

Fees Collected

Total Amount of Fees Collected

Percentage of Total Costs

$0.00(4)

---

(4) The NTSB did not collect fees in FY 2008.

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XI. FOIA Regulations (Including Fee Schedule)


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X. Fees Collected for Processing Requests

Fees Collected

Total Amount of Fees Collected

Percentage of Total Costs

$0.00(4)

---

(4) The NTSB did not collect fees in FY 2008.

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XI. FOIA Regulations (Including Fee Schedule)

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XII. Backlogs, Consultations, and Comparisons

A. Backlogs of FOIA Requests and Administrative Appeals

Number of Backlogged
Requests as of End of Fiscal Year

Number of Backlogged
Appeals as of End of Fiscal Year

36

0

 

<><><><><><><>
B. Consultations on FOIA Requests Received, Processed, and Pending Consultations

Number of
Consultations Received
from Other Agencies
that Were Pending at
Your Agency as of
Start of the Fiscal Year

Number of
Consultations
Received from Other
Agencies During the
Fiscal Year

Number of
Consultations Received
from Other Agencies
that Were Processed by
Your Agency During
the Fiscal Year

Number of
Consultations Received
from Other Agencies
that Were Pending at
Your Agency as of
End of the Fiscal Year

0

0

0

0

 

C. Consultations on FOIA Requests Ten Oldest Consultations Received from Other Agencies and Pending at Your Agency

10th Oldest
Consultation and
Number of
Days Pending

9th

8th

7th

6th

5th

4th

3rd

2nd

Oldest Consultation
and Number of
Days Pending

NA

NA

NA

NA

NA

NA

NA

NA

NA

NA

 

D. Comparison of Numbers of Requests from Previous and Current
Annual Report Requests Received, Processed, and Backlogged

NUMBER OF REQUESTS RECEIVED

NUMBER OF REQUESTS PROCESSED

Number Received
During Fiscal Year
from Last Years
Annual Report

Number Received
During Fiscal Year
from Current
Annual Report

Number Processed
During Fiscal Year
from Last Years
Annual Report

Number Processed
During Fiscal Year
from Current
Annual Report

312*

224

1257

500


*See Footnote number 1.

Number of Backlogged Requests

Number of Backlogged Requests as of End of
the Fiscal Year from Previous Annual Report

Number of Backlogged Requests as of End of
the Fiscal Year from Current Annual Report

312*

36


*See Footnote number 1.

E. Comparison of Numbers of Administrative Appeals from Previous and Current
Annual Report Appeals Received, Processed, and Backlogged(5)

NUMBER OF APPEALS RECEIVED

NUMBER OF APPEALS PROCESSED

Number Received
During Fiscal Year
from Last Years
Annual Report

Number Received
During Fiscal Year
from Current
Annual Report

Number Processed
During Fiscal Year
from Last Years
Annual Report

Number Processed
During Fiscal Year
from Current
Annual Report

NA

NA

NA

NA

(5) This information is not required for reporting until FY 2009

Number of Backlogged Appeals

Number of Backlogged Appeals as of End of
the Fiscal Year from Previous Annual Report

Number of Backlogged Appeals as of End of
the Fiscal Year from Current Annual Report

NA

NA

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NTSB FOIA Contacts

Chief FOIA Officer: Robert Scherer
Director, Office of the Chief Information Officer

The Chief FOIA Officer is a senior official who oversees the NTSB's FOIA program.

FOIA Public Liaison: Melba D. Moye
Chief, Records Management Division, (202) 314-6540

The FOIA Public Liaison serves as the supervisory official to whom a FOIA requester can raise concerns about the service the FOIA requester has received from the FOIA Requester Service Center, following an initial response from the Service Center staff.

FOIA Requester Service Center for the NTSB: (202) 314-6540 or (800) 877-6799 The FOIA Requester Service Center specialists assist FOIA requesters seeking information concerning their FOIA requests or the agency's FOIA response.